Past Times: Life goes on!
From The Shetland Times, Friday 14th August, 1959
Life goes on! “The Old Rock” Lerwick, Friday, August 14, 1959
What man of this generation could convey to a happy, contented nation the feelings of a tiny, isolated minority of Her Majesty’s subjects on hearing that her forthcoming happy event unhappily meant cancelling an event for which they had prepared so extensively that the normal life of the community almost came to a standstill? O for a modern McGonagall who might produce some poetic gem on the lines of “And along the route expansive arches were erected, While the spectators standing by seemed very dejected.”
What comfort can we find save in the astonishing assertion that life will, after all, go on? Do the ladies realise that if they insist on the latest fashions for a 1960 visit, they will have to show their KNEES? These are serious matters. Shame on the few who are mumbling lines from Haldane Burgess’ “Jubilee Ode”: only Socialists and other Victorians did that sort of thing. We are New Elizabethans!
Shetland has been given a glimpse of the stuffy incompetence surrounding the throne. Her Majesty and her husband are of this age and generation. Their advisers are of the Victorian age, and seem intent on superimposing a facade of out-dated pomp and panoply over the real qualities which endear the Royal couple to the nation. It is sad to see evidence that there are so many people in high places who think that the strength of the monarchy to-day emanates from combining the comic opera of the past with an unending whistle-stop tour.
It is perhaps as well that the Shetland visit has been postponed. It gives us an opportunity to look again at the whole basis of it. Do we really need to import brass bands and saluting guns? Must we subject the Queen to a day of meaningless hand-shaking and introductions? Is that what we thought we could offer Her Majesty in the light of the happy experience of the Duke of Edinburgh’s visit?
It would surely please the Royal couple – and would certainly delight Shetlanders – if dignified simplicity became the keynote of their visit here. It may be some considerable time before the Queen is again able to subject herself to the tortures devised by the Palace staff, aided and abetted by minor officials up and down the land.